March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, and this week is National Poison Prevention Week. Not only can humans, especially children, become poisoned due to chemicals, prescription drugs, and other substances, but so, too, can our pets. Antifreeze, weed killer, and other household products can be harmful, even deadly for dogs and cats.
Plants can also be dangerous, and with the Easter season upon us, it's a good time to remember that some species of lilies, including the Easter Lily, are toxic to cats, according to experts at the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The Easter Rose is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. The organization maintains a website showcasing the various plants which are poisonous to pets: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Did you know that some human foods can also be dangerous to our four-footed friends? Items such as grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate, and yeast dough can be harmful to our companion animals, and other types of human food can hurt livestock, such as goats and horses.
Consumer Affairs, an online free resource of consumer news and interactive tools, has partnered with the ASPCA and Dr. Justine Lee to create a special guide to help dog owners understand and learn more about the different, potentially dangerous human foods.
I spoke with Danielle Thompson, Content Marketing Specialist with Consumer Affairs, about the guide.
“It's a free resource.... (that) demonstrates what happens when your dog eats something it shouldn't and when you should worry and possibly call your vet,” she said. “It's an animated infographic.”
People who visit the site can select a certain food, click on it, and click through the site to better understand if the dog has consumed something that may be toxic; the information given can help the pet parent determine if this is an emergency situation.
“It's time saving, money saving,” she said.
Find this interactive tool at https://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/pet-food/#dangerous-foods.
Consumer Affairs worked with the ASPCA to compile the top 10 most dangerous human foods for dogs, the ones the ASPCA receives the most calls about. The tool helps “de-mystify” the danger, Thompson said.
According to the ASPCA, nearly half of Americans have dogs as part of their household.
“We wanted to put together this tool in one place (to help pet parents),” Thompson said. “We are a leader in consumer advocacy – our mission is... to give consumers piece of mind. We love our pets and we want for them to be well... so we partnered with Dr. Lee to create this tool.”
Other pet-related information on the Consumer Affairs website includes a pet insurance guide and information about various pet foods. People may also find pet food and treat recalls on the site, Thompson said. Currently, the dangerous food guide is about those items that affect dogs. Content about foods harmful to cats may be forthcoming, Thompson said.
Between the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control website and the Consumer Affairs Dangerous Foods guide, we as pet guardians have wonderful resources at our fingertips to help protect our furry friends. If you're concerned that your pet has been poisoned, visit the two websites, contact your local veterinarian, or call the ASPCA's animal poison control hotline: 1-888-426-4435.
Again, the two websites are:
Consumer Affairs: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/pet-food/#dangerous-foods
ASPCA Animal Poison Control: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
In honor of this holiday, I thought it would be fun to showcase some of the dog breeds which originated in Ireland. Canine origins come from many different countries, and some of the most popular hunting and working breeds came from Ireland. Many of them were known and recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) during its early days, more than 100 years ago. Terriers, setters, and other breeds were used in Ireland and remain popular pets today.
Modern Dog Magazine ran an interesting article about Irish dog breeds, including the Irish setter, the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Irish Wolfhound and more. Here is a link to the story -- hop over for a fun read! And, may the road rise up to meet you as you and your special furry friend travel together!
Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~ George Eliot
It's been nearly four years since the passing of Sage, my blind Springer Spaniel, and it's been less than two months since Cody, my cocker spaniel, died. I still miss both dogs. Each was a devoted friend, a faithful companion. Dogs are noted as faithful friends to humankind, often being called "man's best friend." Many news stories recount the dedication dogs have for their people, even for strangers. Those who alert humans to seizures, fire and other dangers; those who protect people from intruders; those who travel great distances to be reunited with their human family, and those that save people from drowning and avalanches – we learn about such stories nearly every day. Cats and dogs are used as therapy, serving in hospitals, nursing homes, and counseling centers. Loyalty is inherent in the gift of a four-footed friend.
People could, and should, take lessons from pets in the subject of loyalty. Adultery, lack of romantic commitment, fizzling of friendship, embezzlement, bullying -- all of these negative character traits, among so many others, speak to the nasty side of humankind; these attitudes and actions are not displayed in our furry companions.
What bonds a pet to a person? People are the caregivers of their pets, feeding, exercising, playing, petting, lounging; we are the guardians. The more one positively interacts with their pet, the stronger the bond, just as the longer one befriends a person the deeper the dedication to that friendship. And yet, we humans can turn on each other in the blink of an eye.
When Sage and Cody were alive, if I was gone on a business trip for several days, my dogs would follow me everywhere upon my return. Our dog Mary waits in a chair that's beside the front door, and the minute my husband or I walk in, being gone for part of the day to work, she greets us with a little happy dance ... and one of her favorite toys. Our pets' desire to be with us speaks volumes about their bond to us.
We can learn a lot from our pets, including a great lesson in loyalty. Broken relationships, greed, selfishness and other negative characteristics often found in humans are rarely seen in pets. There’s a saying that goes, “May I become the person my dogs thinks I am.” That plaque hangs on my wall and it's a great reminder to aspire to be exactly that -- the person my pets think I am, the good person they see in and bring out in me.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.